With a suppressed immune system, pregnant women are
more susceptible to a bad head, common cold, the flu
or the seasonal allergy attack with greater frequency
during the pregnant months. Despite the misery, avoid
medications like aspirin, do not megadose on vitamin
C and most herbs without consulting your careprovider
Interestingly, colds and flu during pregnancy
will not hurt your baby
, unless your temperature
shoots up to 102˚F and above. The worse can happen
if you fall really ill in the first trimester. In
the later stages if you become dehydrated the risk
of premature labor increases. Pregnancy is surely
the worst time to feel so miserable but what makes
it even harder is the fact that you cannot be taking
over-the-counter medications as you use to before.
Here is why:
• Many cold medicines, antihistamines, decongestants
and nasal sprays contain some ingredient which makes
them unsuitable for use during pregnancy. Some cold
medications may also contain alcohol and it is well
established that alcohol is bad for the growing fetus.
• Cold medications can also contain aspirin,
which is again a no-no for your baby especially in
the last trimester when, premature labor is possible
• Thirdly nasal sprays can also work adversely
because it may contain a compound which eases the
nasal problem only to tighten the arteries near the
uterus. Your baby is at a risk of receiving a reduced
flow of oxygen and blood.
Going the Natural Way
• Before you reach for the medicine kit, try
a few other remedies first. A neck massage and a nap
can cure you of that headache for instance.
• For cold and allergy symptoms try going the
natural way. Treat the cold as soon as you feel it;
drink lots of water to expel the germs. Always consult
your doctor on what is safe, even if it's the minor
(but bothersome) bout of sniffle and sneezes before
you reach for any form of antihistamines.
• For a sore itchy throat, gargle with salt
water (hot water) instead of the cough syrup.
• If your temperature is above 101˚F, you can
take a dose of acetaminophen to bring the fever down
and arrange to visit your doctor. Tylenol is considered
safe to take when you have a flu attack but stay away
from all other stuffs sold specially for flu symptoms.
• Do not take herbs such as Echinacea as studies
on its use during pregnancy is not conclusive.
• Avoid herbal teas containing weird unfamiliar
names like mugwort or cohosh. Check with your careprovider
• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
in the form of warm water, chicken broth and calcium-fortified
• Elevate the upper portion of your body, including
your head to help with the congestion. Use pillows
to prop yourself up to help drain the mucus.
• Try using a humidifier or place a cloth soaked
in hot water over your face. Spray drug-free nasal
drops to keep the area moist
• Check with your doctor on the OTCs you can
take. There are a number of them which are safe for
consumption during pregnancy. Go with your doctor's
recommendation and avoid self-medication.
• Excess vitamin C or zinc beyond what is already
in your prenatal formula is not advisable during pregnancy.
Get medical advice first if you wish to increase the
• Finally give yourself time, get plenty of
rest and eat well since your body needs all the energy
to get back on track.
Change your Habit
• Feeling achy and feverish may tempt you to
self-medicate just to get rid of the misery but it
is a bad idea to load up on OTC medications. Popping
a pill, drinking some syrup or using a nasal spray
to bring relief to common ailments will not do now
that you are pregnant.
• Aspirin and ibuprofen are especially harmful
and should be avoided totally. Researchers show that
pregnant women should opt for acetaminophen over aspirin
but that too should be taken in moderation (and certainly
not every day). Tylenol or paracetemol (acetaminophen
family) taken occasionally to treat a bad attack is
doable but do not make it a habit and avoid its use